Archived Histories of Brass Bands 
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This page is part of an archive of historical details from existing or defunct brass band websites. This is being maintained to provide a record of this information in the event of a band folding, its website disappearing or other loss of the historical record. Where possible, and appropriate, the information cached will be updated from time to time - and any corrections or updates are welcome.

Kirkwall Town Band

The Kirkwall Town Band has enjoyed a long history. Whilst we are still trying to find out about the band's past there are references to the Kirkwall Town Band in The Orcadian archive as long back as 1890 when the conductor was a Mr Robert (Bob) Spence who was a popular local figure and proprietor of the Kirkwall store "Cumming and Spence."

There are references to the band having played at the New Years Day Ball, an important social event in the late 19th century.

In 1910 there is mention of the town band when local cabinet maker, D.B. Peace, converted his wood store on Junction Road into a roller skating rink. It was reported at the time that the sound of the clattering of the roller skates on the fine maple wood floor was drowned out by music of the brass band.

The minutes of the Kirkwall Town band's meetings for the years 1929 - 1954 are in the Orkney Archive. From research there it is clear that the band at that time had the instrumentation of a traditional brass band but with the addition of clarinets.

The band stopped during the years of the Second World War and the instruments given over to the Kirkwall Branch of the Salvation Army. There were moves to reform the band in 1945 and by January of 1947 the band began again. There is a letter in the archive from Capt. Chas. A. Geleit of the Salvation Army Headquarters in London thanking the band for the use of their instruments during the war years, which allowed visiting servicemen to come and blow.

In a letter to the secretary of the Kirkwall Town band Capt. Geleit finished the letter by saying: "convey our very sincere thanks to the Town Band for their much felt kindness. The loss of your bandsmen to the War gave us an opportunity to help others."

An interesting fact that came to light in the archive was that the secretary of the Salvation Army in Kirkwall in 1947, when the instruments were handed back to the Kirkwall Town Band, was a gentleman by the name of Andrew W. Stanger. He was the father of cornet player Billy Stanger and the grandfather of our Bb Bass player, Andrew Stanger.

There are records of concerts as late as 1957 but sometime after that date the band stopped.

It was re established in 1973 and has been going ever since